Daring to be noticed for the first time in her life, she pushed her chair back and stood up.

"Ladies? Gentlemen? Entities?" Helen paused. No response.

Helen glanced around. The large workroom -- some schizophrenic combination of retro and avant0-garde -- was loud, clicking and warbling and chatting in a very large number of tongues.

Helen cleared her throat. It should have been for effect, but it was because her throat had suddenly dried, as if she had swallowed the entirety of the Sahara back on Terra. "People! And non-people! Listen!"

To their credit, many did. Many didn't, but that...

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I met him on the beach. He sat, fully clothed, legs ajar with a cigarette hanging out the side of his mouth, ash dropping sullenly, almost petulantly into the faded crotch of his blue jeans. His eyes were a-glaze, his raybans askew and he hadn’t seem to notice me sitting down beside him.

It was night. Behind us various Reggaeton tunes blared from various speakers, set outside the rows and rows of cocktail shacks at the side of the beach, all selling cheap and strong and just how we liked to drink it. The sky was jet and pinpricked with...

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Drip. Drip. Drip. The blood plopped to the concrete floor like a leaky faucet. He contemplated about the throbbing pain he felt with every plop.

He enjoyed that feeling. Concentrating so much on one pain over and over again. The first time he asked his boyfriend to blindfold him and punch in him the face - his boyfriend thought he was being dirty.

"You like it rough..." he had coyly responded.

The problem was it stopped being about the pleasure and more about the pain. He wanted to feel the warm liquid glop from his mouth and puddle to his...

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Four men on the port were looking for a penny stuck in the sails. It was the 4th Annual Whale Hunting Organization of America's Penny Party. Hidden somewhere on the great masted ship was a penny and there was a great amount of backslapping and thumbs-upping to whoever found it. It was generally a nice evening, plenty of deep flavored drinks flowing. Gave everyone something to think of fondly, and drunken stories to recount through the long winter months ashore before the ships went out again toward Greenland, toward the Horn. The first year, the penny (different penny) was pinned...

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There's somebody standing in the corner of my room.

I think they're me.

I mean, she - think it's a she, the lines are fuzzy - looks like me. A bit, anyway. She looks how I could be. Maybe how I should be. But she keeps flickering and altering - maybe she's just a potential me.

Or maybe she's all the potential mes.

I step closer to her - I can't tell, not really, that expression keeps shifting, but she seems to be happy about it, I think there's a smile (more smiles than frowns, anyway).

I open my mouth...

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The man in the yellow shirt entered the elevator and pressed the lowest button, which was marked 'B3'. The light next to the word 'DOWN' lit up, and down we went.

"Down?" I exclaimed in confusion. "I don't want to go down. I want to go up. I pressed 31. Why is the elevator obeying you and not me? I was here first."

"It likes me better," said the yellow-shirted man.

"Why would it like you? You're ugly looking and your shirt is stupid."

"How do you know what an elevator thinks is ugly? Maybe it likes my shirt."


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